LATEST: SIR Elton John is desperate to apologise to George Michael for criticising the ex-Wham! star's live performances and latest album PATIENCE - but Michael refuses to speak to the ROCKET MAN.

The pair fell out after John criticised Michael's "strange behaviour" and labelled his career "disappointing" during a magazine interview.

Michael responded by sending a letter to British magazine HEAT which insisted, "Most of what Elton thinks he knows about my life is pretty much limited to the gossip he hears on what you would call the 'gay grapevine'."

But John says he tried to phone Michael to explain his comments were intended to help the FAITH star's career, but Michael would not take any of his calls.

He explains, "I tried to call George at Christmas to sort things out, but he wouldn't come to the phone. I spoke to Kenny Goss (Michael's partner) but he couldn't persuade George to talk to me. It's a shame.

"Obviously I struck a nerve and he took it all the wrong way. I would like to resolve it. I've been in the place where George is at the moment and I know you need someone to reach out and tell you the truth. If someone had said that about me in 1985 I'd have reacted the same way.

"But I'm genuinely concerned. If something happens I want to be there to support him. He's annoyed at me and I know that."

06/03/2005 14:51